California Restricts State-Funded Travel to Arizona For ‘Anti-Transgender’ Laws

California Restricts State-Funded Travel to Arizona For ‘Anti-Transgender’ Laws

By Corinne Murdock |

The state of California will no longer fully fund official travel to Arizona because of laws banning gender transition procedures for minors (SB1138) and biological males from female sports (SB1165). The West Coast state’s attorney general, Rob Bonta issued the announcement on Thursday, the eleventh hour of Pride Month 2022.

California’s wielding of a 2016 law also applies to Indiana, Louisiana, and Utah, for their respective laws banning biological males, who believe they are transgender females, from participating in girl’s and women’s sports. 

Bonta claimed in a press release that protections for women and children were solutions in search of a problem. Rather, Bonta asserted that the laws were veiled attacks on transgenderism and that the state would be “putting [its] money where [its] values are.” 

“Make no mistake: There is a coordinated, ongoing attack on transgender rights happening right now all across the country,” said Bonta. “Blanket legislation targeting transgender children is a ‘solution’ in search of a problem. It is detached from reality and directly undermines the well-being of our LGBTQ+ community.”

As of press time, Attorney General Mark Brnovich hasn’t responded to California’s proclamation. 

Later on Thursday, Bonta issued a several statements commending members of his staff within the LGBTQ+ community, including his deputy attorney general Lily Weaver, a man who identifies as a “lesbian transgender millennial woman.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Critical Race Theory Ban Passes Senate Committee

Critical Race Theory Ban Passes Senate Committee

By Corinne Murdock |

A contentious bill to enshrine a critical race theory (CRT) ban in the state constitution, HCR2001, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. No committee Democrats spoke up during their vote, save for one who repeated the same claims made by her party: that CRT tenets were not only supportive of historical fact but critical to K-12 education.

State Senator Raquel Terán (D-Phoenix) said that CRT properly informed children of both the good and the bad of American history. Terán shared that she taught her kindergartener son about the “ugly truths” of this nation’s racial relations with Latinos as a supplement to what he’d learned in school during Black History Month. 

“Every child deserves an accurate and honest and quality education no matter the color of their skin or where they call their home,” said Terán. 

State Senator Vince Leach (R-Tucson) cited an AZ Free News report of how over 200 Arizona teachers pledged to teach CRT regardless of what the law or school board determined.

“To some degree, I commend them because they signed up and said the truth. Anyone in this room that thinks K-12 education is gaining kids would be mistaken. We’ve lost 40,000 kids [from public schools] through COVID. And they’re not coming back. There’s a reason they’re not coming back. Parents are pulling their kids left and right. Just check your emails, or if you don’t get those emails, talk to me,” said Leach. “And yes, there are spots in our history that are blemished. Some would even go so far, and maybe I would be included, that they are rotten [spots]. And as we see them we take care of them. Granted, not soon enough, but we are a deliberative country set up by our founders and we don’t do things quickly. That annoys people on both sides.”

Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg cited studies that teacher candidates have been screened on their beliefs of CRT tenets as part of their qualifications to teach.

After the vote, State Senator Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) dispelled a rumor that the resolution would ban educators from teaching specific parts of hard, “ugly history.” She bemoaned that her Democratic colleagues were accusing Republicans of thwarting efforts to teach history. 

“What it does say is that you can’t teach that one race or ethnic group is inherently, morally, or intellectually superior to another race. Cause that’s racism,” said Townsend. “If you could sum this up, it says that you can’t teach racism. You can’t be racist in the way you teach. It doesn’t say that you cannot teach history. Every year it seems like now we’re going through this, where we’re being accused of trying to stop kids from learning our history. That is not the case. We are saying that you cannot guilt a kid because of the color of their skin. You cannot say one race is better than the other. I’m growing weary of it, and I would like some honesty in our discussions, especially from what we’ve heard today. It’s pretty shameful, and if that’s what we’re doing is saying that this bill is about denying history, then I think we need to look at the language of the bill.”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

Critical Race Theory Ban Swapped For Tax Fix Bill

Critical Race Theory Ban Swapped For Tax Fix Bill

By Corinne Murdock |

Legislation banning critical race theory (CRT) was switched out with a bill to offer corporations a tax break in what may be a welcome respite from the lasting effects of the 2020 pandemic. State Representative Michelle Udall (R-Mesa) championed original legislation banning CRT from K-12 schools, which passed the House last month. Then last week, the Senate Finance Committee erased it all with a strike-everything amendment to instead offer a $4 million tax break for corporations.

Now, HB2112 requires the amount of any federal deposit insurance corporation premiums that are disallowed as a deduction for federal income tax purposes to be subtracted from a corporation’s gross income in this state. Senate Finance Committee Chairman David Livingston (R-Peoria) introduced the striker. 

“This will benefit small Arizona banks the most,” claimed Livingston. 

Udall didn’t speak on the bill during the committee hearing after the striker was announced. Nobody offered an explanation as to why the CRT bill was done away with, or who caused its demise. AZ Free News reached out to Udall and Livingston with these questions; they didn’t respond by press time. 

An Arizona Bankers Association spokesman explained that the bill was necessary because the state failed to decouple its tax cut from changes to the federal tax cut in 2019. Livingston noted that failure to establish the tax cut put Arizona at a competitive disadvantage to other states. 

A previous version of the bill failed to pass the Senate Ways and Means Committee. This time around, the amended bill was approved without discussion. 

Apparently, parents didn’t get the memo that the CRT ban was no longer in question. Several mothers in support of the bill signed up to speak on the bill; one mother began to speak, only to be informed by Livingston that the bill no longer existed.

A different bill may be the reason for the original HB2112’s eradication — this one, a resolution that would have voters decide whether the state constitution should ban any individual or entity from “compelling or soliciting” belief of CRT tenets, as well as imposing preferential treatment based on them. The resolution would encompass all levels of public education, from K-12 through higher education. 

State Representative Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix) introduced the resolution.

The bill, HCR2001, also passed the House last month along party lines, several weeks after Udall’s bill passed. It passed the Senate Education Committee last week, and will be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

It’s Time to Put Critical Race Theory in Arizona’s K-12 Schools up for a Vote

It’s Time to Put Critical Race Theory in Arizona’s K-12 Schools up for a Vote

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

Perhaps no issue has taken our nation by storm during the past year quite like Critical Race Theory (CRT). This cleverly disguised Marxist indoctrination uses words that sound harmless enough like “diversity,” “equity,” and “inclusion.” But floods of parents caught on early last year. And many made it their mission to stop CRT’s invasion of school districts across the nation.

Some people even believe it may have been the central issue that swung Virgina’s gubernatorial election to Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin. But right here in Arizona, the battle is not over.

As you may recall, Arizona lawmakers and Governor Ducey took important steps to prevent children from being indoctrinated in public schools by CRT through a budget reconciliation bill this past July. But in November, the Arizona Supreme Court struck down that ban, ruling that it was integrated in a bill that was a violation of the single subject requirement of the state constitution.

With the Arizona legislature back in session for the past two months, Republicans have made CRT a top priority. Earlier this month, the House already took an important step forward…


Arizona Educators Pledged to Teach Critical Race Theory, Regardless of Law or Parental Consent

Arizona Educators Pledged to Teach Critical Race Theory, Regardless of Law or Parental Consent

By Corinne Murdock |

Over 200 Arizonans who identified themselves as educators have signed onto a pledge to teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) and all other social justice-oriented curriculum to children, regardless of the law or the wishes of parents. They conveyed a unified message: that they desired to teach the “truth” and the “true history” of this country’s history. 

The pledge was created by the Zinn Education Project, a Washington, D.C.-based collaborative effort between Rethinking Schools and Teaching for Change. Prominent socialist and author of the anti-American exceptionalism book, “A People’s History of the United States,” Howard Zinn founded the project. Zinn propagated CRT concepts that America suffers from systemic racism, and that its imperialism and capitalism are evil. He also sparked controversy in topics previously associated with American pride by claiming Christopher Columbus was evil, President Abraham Lincoln was indifferent on slaves’ freedom, the Allies and Axis Powers weren’t much different, and that the Vietnam War wasn’t about communism.

The following includes those who signed onto the pledge as Arizona educators:

Avondale: Natalie Cardenas

Bisbee: Etta Kralovec

Black Canyon City: Matthew Schock

Casa Grande: Sharon Tuttle

Chandler: Amy Shinabarger, Angela Thomas, Ann Cicero, Audra Johnson, Beth Herbert, Deanna Celaya, James Wallace, Judith Simons, Julia Palazzi, Melanie Ohm, Rachel Kulik, Shasta Payne, Teri Moser

Flagstaff: Russell Randall, Ricardo Guthrie, Michelle Novelli, Angelina Castagno, Beth Sanborn, Derek Thibodeau, Elizabeth Merrill, Erin Hiebert, Joe Wegwert, Leslie Grabel, Patricia Roach, Sarah Shamah, Stacy Clark, Tami Butters, Yvonne Parent

Fountain Hills: Vincent Sepe

Gila Bend: Josie McClain

Gilbert: Andrea Barker, Cary Tyler, Heather Gossler, Heather Schlemmer, Kaylie Aguilar, Kim Klett, Leda Devlieger, Monica Darugna, Rebecca Garelli, Stefanie Campanella

Glendale: Erin Chisholm, Carlos Velazquez, Craig Lewis, Deanna Bakker, Electra Stafford, Galindo Jack, Jamie Prichard, Kari Vargas, Lisa Cantella, Maggie Malone, Melanie Cobos, Nick Friedman, Rachel Schmidt, Romy Griepp, Valerie Sun

Goodyear: Jill Helland, Catherine Barnett, Nikole Brasch, Susan Hennessy

Laveen: Miguel Ramirez, Nancy Schwartz

Litchfield Park: Melissa England

Mesa: Elisabeth Tanner, Marissa Felix, Quiana Washington, Robin Dodder, Andrea Box, Anica Erickson, Ann Marie Geair, Anne Greer, Christina Bustos, Christina Jameson, Claudia Bloom, Dave Medley, Jacqueline Tambone, Julie Quiroa, Kay Crittenden, Kelly Wright, Kisha Delgado, Michelle Lantz, Paul Kreutz, Quiana Washington, Rachael Clawson, Steve Munczek

Paradise Valley: Justin Brooks

Peoria: Paige DeHaan, Breanna Malmos, Chelsea Charlton, Kaitlin Griffin, Melissa Girmscheid, Stephanie Churchill, Tina Sanders

Phoenix: Karen Hawkes, Susannah Keita, Natasha Alston, Kareem Neal, Admaira Roman, Wilma Rice, Tom Moore, Kerrilee Wing, Sariah Winn, Nishta Mehra, Kelsey Knutson, Courtney Rath, Darcy Heath, Kelly Cutler, David Lee Carlson, Jay Barbuto, Nicolas Culley, Alexandra Zamarron, Alicia Messing, Carla Garcia, Claudia Chiang, Erika James, Ginette Rossi, Janel Vaughan, Judith Robbins, Kelley Gribuski, Kristin Cervantez, Lauren Gaston, Lauren Spenceley-Sheoran, Michelle Schulke, Mike Sarraino, Rodrigo Palacios-Tenorio, Roger Baker, Sarah Bennett, Shana Hornstein, Susan Rego, Tara La O’Garcia

“The thought of censoring the truth of our history in this country at this time in our nation is horrifying. I will not be silenced by frightened white supremist[s],” wrote Karen Hawkes of Phoenix. “We cannot heal and move forward without knowing and understanding the roots of our institutionalized racism.”

Queen Creek: Joanna Auclair

Sahuarita: Dawn Demps

Scottsdale: Louis Sugar, Carole Ancona, Jan Kelly, Kandice Nelson, Mariah Moritz

Sun City West: Harriet Luckman, Stacy Green

Surprise: Jon Alfred, Paula Auble

Tempe: Kelsey McAlarney, Sharon Hansen, Bernadette Lissner, Carol Johnson, Cortney Milanovich, Danielle Degain, Deanna Smith, Dylan Wince, Haylee Newton, Jacob Bley, Jo Anne Craig, Lawdon Haglund, Leslie Ringer, Maren Mueller, Valerie Craig

“All Americans deserve to know the truth about our racist, white supremacist history of violence against BIPOC. I should not have had to have been 66 years old before I confronted this history for the first time,” wrote Sharon Hanson of Tempe. “Although the sins of my forebears are not my personal sins, the current racist situation America IS my problem. America will never move forward until, like Germany, we hold up our ugly past, learn what actually happened (not some whitewashed version of the truth), and endeavor to make reckoning with it all.”

Tucson: Susan Whorley, Katie Vera, Arthur Almquist, Megan Carney, Isabella Porchas, Margaret Chaney, Amber Leeson-Curtis, Lee Foulkes, Peter Blankfield, Julie Elvick, Victoria Bodanyi, Meghan Hipple, Alyssa Cossey, Jenna Brito, Andrea Espinoza, Elizabeth Valenzuela, Jessica Williams, Kari Warner, Kati Gilson, Rita Verdin, Ryan Knst, Adrian Provenzano, Alexandra Mazur, Alison Climes, Ann Marie Palmer, Avis Judd, Barbara Wayne, Brieanne Buttner, Caryl Crowell, Chelsea Forer, Chris Parisoff, Corey Knox, Corina Ontiveros, Devon Holden, Edvina Velagic, Eric Donaghy, Farid Matuk, Jennifer Mullet, Jennifer Quigly, Carole Edelsky, Jessica Bernal Meija, Jim Byrne, Kate Van Roekel, Wes Oswald, Kevan Kiser-Chuc, Kristel Ann Foster, Linda Archuleta, Manuel Palacios-Fest, Mario Garcia, Natalie Taylor, Nataly Reed, Peter Blankfield, Rachael Eggebeen, Rebecca Kristensen, Sheila Wilenksy, Steven Ernsky, Tom McElhaney

“I will not let the white establishment silence me. I will continue to teach an accurate account of history,” wrote Jenna Brito of Tucson. “This includes teaching about how racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc is deeply embedded into our society and how it continues to shape out [sic] experiences.”

Vail: Drew Fellows

Yuma: Dorothy Higuera

At least one Arizona educator didn’t identify their city or town: Andrea Barrera.

It appears that these educators may have some level of support from the state. The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) encourages educators to pledge that they will teach social-emotional learning (SEL), which also propagates social justice concepts including CRT.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to